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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Petersburg and Atlanta, Castel and McMurry, Part 3

Castel seems satisfied that Sherman's capture of Atlanta settled the November 1864 presidential election in favor of President Abraham Lincoln.  McMurry appears to think that Lincoln would have won anyway.  I agree with Castel, not so much on the basis of his analysis, but because during the fortnight before Atlanta's capture, Lincoln was preparing for defeat.  He circulated his "Blind Memorandum" at a cabinet meeting on August 23, 1864.

Executive Mansion
Washington, Aug. 23, 1864.
This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he can not possibly save it afterwards. 
LINCOLN

Grant's memoirs indicate that he thought the capture of Atlanta decisive as well.  Despite McMurry's lengthy analysis, I agree with the men on the ground--Grant and Lincoln--that the capture of Atlanta decided the election and hence the war.